Has China scuppered Iran’s interNOT plans?

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Despite renewed publicity about Iran’s promised “internot” the project may face a serious setback up now that China’s ZTE has now agreed to abandon plans to sell US technology – including CISCO and IBM equipment – to Iran in the wake of claims that they were intending to sell equipment that would be used for espionage. ZTE follows the lead of another Chinese mega-corp, Huawei, in this change of stance.

With so many revelations about the scale of operations by Western intelligence services wanting to gather information about events and development inside Iran, it should come as no surprise that the regime repeats its intentions to close off their internet to the outside world on a regular basis. If, by some miracle of (non-American) technology, the Iranian authorities are able to implement this concept, it will be ordinary Iranians who suffer the most – as usual.

China’s ZTE Corp, which recently sold Iran’s largest telecommunications firm a powerful surveillance system, later agreed to ship to Iran millions of dollars worth of embargoed U.S. computer equipment, documents show.

The American components were part of an 8 million euro ($10.5 million) equipment-supply contract, dated June 30, 2011, between ZTE, a Chinese trading firm and a unit of the consortium that controls the Iranian telecom, Telecommunication Co. of Iran, according to documents reviewed by Reuters. ZTE is China’s second-largest telecommunications equipment maker.

The documents shed further light on how Iran obtains sophisticated American tech products despite U.S. sanctions on Iran. China is a major conduit. Reuters in March revealed an earlier deal between ZTE and TCI, which centered on non-American surveillance equipment but also included some U.S. tech goods. The latest deal, though smaller in scale, was much more reliant on U.S. products.

>> Read the rest of this exclusive Reuters report.

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